Diving, Surface Line Man
Paul Ward - 1985-86 - Signy Island - Antarcticans Database Project - more

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Diving, Surface Line Man

The key person when diving under ice is the one at the surface on the other end of the line. There is a series of signals, pulls on the line to say "feed out", "take in" or "s**t! - drag us back now!" The line should be kept taught enough to pass signals, but not so taught as to make movement difficult for the divers and in an emergency the man at the surface could pull both divers manually back to the surface.

As a line man it's one of those very dull, and usually very cold (especially on the hands if you hadn't brought the right mitts to handle the wet rope) but vitally important jobs that you can't for a minute stop concentrating on. For most of us, the fact that on another occasion, we would be the ones under the ice concentrated the mind very well and helped to give the divers confidence in their mate at the surface.

There is also the fact that under-ice diving is FANTASTIC! so who cares about the extra effort if you get to do something so great.

Photo; © Paul Ward